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Poster: ghostofpig Date: Jan 31, 2007 11:21am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Until you've walked that mile

in someone else's shoes--and all that. I had several conversations after Katrina when all the nice folks up here were second guessing all the nice folks down there. Katrina did change course pretty fast--and no one believed it would really hit N.O.--including many residents.

Until you have been through a disaster such as Katrina, you don't know squat. It's just the latest T.V. reality show. It's faded from not just W's mind, but most of ours. We don't have to be there after the cameras have moved on.

In 1989, I moved to Charleston, S.C., just before Hugo hit.
It was dead on Charleston as it was guided by converging high and low systems, so it got extra strong as it hit. What I saw and lived with was beyond description. We lost all the trees in a forty mile radius--all those live oaks. A thousand boats were washed inland. Homes were destroyed. Almost all the beachfront homes on the barrier islands were washed into the ocean, remaining there in bits and pieces for years to injure swimmers. We lost small towns--completely wiped. We had the Army come in to protect the city from looters. We had no electricity for weeks. The buzz of the scores of generators will never leave my mind. Nor will the darkness and sudden silence that fell when they were all turned off at the ten p.m. curfew. No water. No toilets. No fresh food. It took six months just to clean it up, and over ten years before the landscape began to look good again.
Then Andrew hit, and we were forgotten. An acquaintance remarked that Andrew was worse than Hugo. Yeah, their dick is larger than ours. Maybe the homes were more expensive, maybe it looked better on T.V., but devastation is devastation. My response to him was that he was a twit since he had never lived through such storms as these. Had he been though one, he would have understood what both areas had been through and that comparing the two was absurd. Destruction is destruction.

Add to that experience the floods, the looting, the shootings--and you have an even greater horror in New Orleans--not that I'm comparing. When I saw it on T.V., I saw something that most people will never see. I saw behind the film. I saw the whole thing because I had lived it.

Until you have walked that mile, my friends, you can never really understand what happened. That's not a criticism or a n insult; it's just a fact. I hope no one here has to go through something like that.


Say--remember those big buildings in New York?

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Poster: Arbuthnot Date: Jan 31, 2007 4:24pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Until you've walked that mile

ghost makes some excellent points, and since i have never lived through such an experience, i will take his words as heartfelt and right on. it's as the narrator relates in Bright Lights, Big City: "Even if you knew what sonar was and how it worked, you could never know what it feels lik to have it, or what it feels like to be a small, furry creature hanging upside down from the roof of a cave. She said that certain facts are accessible only from one point of view--the point of view of the creature who experiences them."

Which isn't to say that someone who has not experienced first hand a particular experience is not able to offer a viewpoint or narrative about their perceptions, however they are gained. For instance Stephen Crane, a writer who never served in the military, wrote one of the great war novels in Red Badge of Courage.

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Poster: ghostofpig Date: Jan 31, 2007 6:04pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Until you've walked that mile

A great researcher and writer can act as a medium or transcriber of the act or the feeling, but that does not mean that he feels it the same way one who has been there does.
There are musicians who can interpret and express, say, the blues, but they may not "feel" it the way many who cannot express it do.

When we all watched the trade towers burn and fall, we all felt horror, anger, and fear. But imagine being in the buildings or near them instead of watching in your living room safe and sound. Hell, yes, seeing evidence of Katrina is or should be horrifying, but being there goes quite a few levels deeper--into the realm of despair.

You nor I have ever been raped. While we can feel for the victim, we will never (thank God) know what she knows.

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Poster: Arbuthnot Date: Jan 31, 2007 6:13pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Until you've walked that mile

By no means disagree with you, and i think i expressed that, if in more of a literary frame-of-reference. Just trying to stress that there are many who offer their opinions and viewpoints, on whatever experience, but unless they are in the heart of the thing, like yourself, they may and can offer an expression of what it might be like, but that the angst and emotion as tried and true to the heart of the beast can only come from first hand experience. Which isn't of course to say that someone who may not have lived something first hand, such as Crane, cannot accurately capture the feel. There are those who seem to have an otherworldly emotionally and intellectually intuitive genius that transcends the norm. Cheers.

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Poster: ghostofpig Date: Jan 31, 2007 7:22pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Until you've walked that mile

I'm not sure that we are disagreeing.
Such is art and the artist. The word, the canvass, the song--these contain universals which can express things in universal terms. Certainly, great novels, poems, paintings, symphonies, and songs can elicit emotions from us. So do the photographs of destruction be it war, hurricanes, tsunamis, etc. But these experiences are short lived. One can turn the page and Crane's description of war goes away. One can change the channel, etc. Yes, certain images and sounds will always remain with us. But we don't wear them like tatoos on the arms of the imprisoned jews in WW2.

I think Crane's work is brilliant, btw. But I wonder how much more intense his writings may have been had he experienced the Civil War directly. Who knows?

I'm certainly glad that I have never experienced war and will happily settle for Mr. Crane's descritions!

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Poster: ducats Date: Jan 31, 2007 1:33pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Until you've walked that mile

I don't buy it - that's the same as the "u can't be commander in chief if u never served" crap

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Poster: ghostofpig Date: Jan 31, 2007 2:22pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Until you've walked that mile

Okay, then.

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Poster: BryanE Date: Jan 31, 2007 12:03pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Until you've walked that mile

Amen!

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Poster: ghostofpig Date: Jan 31, 2007 12:14pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Until you've walked that mile

This is not to belittle your situation. While the destruction of a city is one thing, it is still an American horror story to be framed by the police--to have to go through what you went through. Those, too, are tough shoes to be in.